on February 25, 2012
Reading some of the negative reviews here reminded me of what I thought before seeing the movie. "A side story? What about something after the end? This is going to suck!"
Then I actually saw it.
I'm not sure what movie some of the other reviewers saw, but the one I saw was pure FMA. It doesn't really add anything to the story plot-wise (how could it?), but it does a great job of expanding the anime's world. By taking us to the never before seen land of Creta, we are treated to some of the most impressive backdrops in the whole series. The new characters are also a pleasant surprise, as their plight seems to mirror that of the Isvalans, but has some interesting depth that makes it compelling. The self-contained plot fits into the Brotherhood canon if you want it to (around episode 20-21, IIRC) but has enough twists of its own to not need outside knowledge to understand. The animation is a bit different than either anime series, but is still gorgeous.
My only complaints are that the animation of some slower scenes is occasionally choppy (the cinematic format does that to anime movies, I tend to find) and that the blood/gore is definitely higher here than in any other incarnation of FMA. I actually thought it fit in with the symbolism of the movie, but not everyone will feel that way, so consider yourself warned.
Ultimately, this movie is a way to spend two more hours with Edward and Alphonse. Treat it that way and you'll have a blast.
on January 25, 2012
Apparently equivalent exchange for this film is just admission price at a local theater or waiting until April and paying the twenty-some dollars for the Blu-ray.
I personally am going to do both. I had the chance to see this at my local theater, a treat since they usually don't get such obscure titles and I'm usually forced to resort to waiting on blu-ray releases. This time I was able to see the beautifully hand drawn animation up on the big screen in all its glory. I will say upfront I can't wait to see it again but this time on Blu-ray and I hope they include some special features (*hooray for a US cast commentary being listed).
I am a relatively new fan of the series but have been well exposed to the mythos by now. This film, unlike the film tied to the earlier series (Conqueror of Shamballa), is not an ending/finale as much as it is a filler episode that fits into the Brotherhood series. In those terms I'd call it a great filler episode though. I suggest viewing this film as another chance to spend time with the Elric brothers, though perhaps this time on an ever slightly more different journey. I feel viewing it this way, which is how I went into it, will merit the most enjoyment. In short, this film had everything I wanted, some mythic intrigue, epic battles, epic alchemy (something Conqueror of Shamballa was light on), unique environments, character moments, some dark turns and some well dispersed humor. Could it have been many other things, yes, but I personally really enjoyed what it was.
I don't think anything needs to be said about the voice acting, this dub is terrific, truly one of the best. I know some fans only watch the subs but this is well known as one of those anime that almost every fan finds the English dub to be on par or in some cases above the original one. I will say, as I have in regards to Brotherhood, I miss Aaron Dismuke as Al but puberty happens and Maxey Whitehead does an excellent job in the role once you get used to the higher pitch.
The visuals were fantastic and the action was excellently staged. The only downside is that Ed and Al seem to play side characters in this film, whereas in comparison to Conqueror of Shamballa they were definitely main characters there. While I would have liked more of them and more stakes for them in the story that didn't stop me from greatly enjoying the film as an anime fan. The story keeps one eager to see what will happen and where things will go, even though a few too many scenes without any presence felt by Ed or Al left me wondering when they would return to the screen.
To be clear, it isn't that I didn't enjoy the side characters, just that Ed and Al were always on my mind when gone too long as this is a Fullmetal Alchemist film. The side characters are interesting and well designed, there is a large back story about two warring territories and another caught between them in a canyon. Then there is a smaller back story about a brother and sister who, like Ed and Al, lost their parents. The large amount of plot is well explained without getting too expository, for the most part, several flashback sequences definitely help. The film starts out very linear, light and fun but soon gets very dark and heavy as it begins to pile on the plot twists towards the end, back-to-back-to-back at one point.
On another note, if this film didn't carry the title Fullmetal Alchemist or if Ed and Al hadn't been in the story I would have felt like I was watching an older Hayao Miyazaki film, which I obviously say as a compliment. Even the character designs reminded me very much of Nausicaa or other similar films.
So while I do wish Ed and Al were more involved both physically and emotionally, they mostly stand on the sidelines and give their opinions to these new characters who may make the same mistakes the boys once did (at least during most of the second act), it is nevertheless a good if not great film. It is especially engaging for those who love hand drawn animation as much as I do or for those who can't get enough Fullmetal Alchemist, which I unfortunately can't. Hopefully another film or feature will be made. 4 stars in an objective sense as I wish the Elric's had been more involved and thought the middle of the story could have been more well paced, 5 stars for me on an enjoyment level and for the beautiful visuals and action scenes. Next up on the silver screen I look forward to Arrietty.
**Apparently many fans haven't enjoyed the film based on other reviews now posted. I still have to give it five stars as an anime film and 4 as FMA.
on April 21, 2012
I saw this at Otakon, and when I went in, my expectations were set at Conqueror of Shambala height which was "this will probably be pretty bad and leave me with a disgusting taste in my mouth because it will screw up the story and butcher the characters". What I saw was definitely above that, though admittedly I was disappointed with the lack of any recognizable characters for any length of time besides Edward and Alphonse. That disappointment went away after the director himself stated that they had a challenge because they could not mess with the story in terms of reveals or "in depth" anything with major characters, and so the movie was set at a point where a deviation would be able to work without too many problems: after the events of Episode 19, Death of the Undying. It's also a bit bloodier than the 2003 series or Brotherhood, so there's the only warning I'll give on that front.
The biggest criticism I have is the art itself. I think the best comparison I can make is that appearance-wise, it resembled a random filler episode's quality. The lack of sharp edges on characters' hair makes them look more like they're all sporting some sort of dreadlock-esque style. Edward's gradient eyes were kind of distracting if just because it made him feel more like he was a different version of the character altogether. The line quality seemed rough and unrefined. The animation felt a little choppy in places. For an animated work shown on the big screen, things like that are crucial. Perhaps the transition to disc will make up for some of those shortcomings by putting it on a much smaller screen.
As for the story itself, it's an interesting take given the limitations they had to work with: something that would wrap itself up and never be seen or heard of again so that it doesn't affect the overall continuity of the story. Had it interfered, I'd have liked it far less because that would have given it the "tacked on as an afterthought to tie it in" feeling. But reading the negative reviews, I guess some people like that sort of thing? The story didn't revolve around Edward and Alphonse, but around the new place they found themselves in.
While I wasn't terribly fond of the new characters, I did like that the Elrics weren't the be all and end all of the movie. They were the foreigners coming into a new place and getting pulled into the conflicts of the area. To focus solely on them would have taken the movie and made it into another Conqueror of Shambala where you really learn nothing at all except what Ed and Al are doing at every waking moment. It's the Sacred Star of Milos, not the Adventures of Ed and Al in Some City. If I wanted the "Ed and Al Show", I'd watch the 2003 series and CoS again.
Yes, some of the more well-known characters are relegated to being cameos. If you keep in mind the events of Episode 19 and you'll understand WHY they are. There is nowhere in the movie to really explain where it falls in the timeline, though, which makes the movie feel like it's a little out of place overall, much like the video games.
I did not see this dubbed so I can't say anything about the English track. Knowing the way FUNimation is where this series is concerned, though, it's probably not bad at all.
I'm going to be buying it because I want to support FUNimation and Aniplex, not because it was OMGTHEBEST. It was not my favourite, but it wasn't bad, and so long as you don't go into it expecting Miyazaki quality, you'll be fine. It's an anime movie based off of a series, not a stand alone movie in which the entirety of the world and all of the characters have to be given in that short span, and it shows.
In the end, whether you borrow it from someone, buy it yourself, or rent it first, I recommend giving it a chance.
on August 30, 2012
Ugh. It's the story of new characters (so predictable they seem recycled) and a new place that has no particular plot for Ed & Al other than as support. Their part in the story adds zip to what we know about them. Ed spends way too much time running around yelling "dammit!" and not quite doing anything he's trying to accomplish, and Al lumbers around being Al. I think we're just supposed to be grateful to see them again - and I wanted to be, but wow - what a wasted opportunity.
The story about the new characters is stock stuff; misunderstood underdogs with unswerving courage fight against all odds to rise above ridiculously unfair conditions. You're supposed to first believe they are criminals, then be slowly swayed until you're on their side. Problem is, the story and the new characters never really engaged me; so I kept looking to the FMA people to do something of interest, making it painfully obvious that their roles were uninspired and unusually one-dimensional.
Pretty unsatisfying if you're looking to jump back in to that connection with the regulars in the series. As others mentioned, Mustang, Hawkeye, Armstrong etc. all just show up as familiar landmarks and behave predictably, and you'd still have virtually the same story of you edited them all out. Even Ed and Al almost feel replaceable.
I've purchased or been gifted every other DVD set, the entire manga set, calendars, you name it for this series but I won't be buying this. Maybe it was because my expectations were too high, but this flat, flaccid piece of work was barely worth the minutes invested in watching it.
on April 24, 2012
Fullmetal Alchemist (particularly Brotherhood) has grown to be one of my favorite animes of all time involving great storytelling & action. When I heard of the Sacred Stars of Milos movie I was pretty excited about it, after finishing the Brotherhood series I just wanted MORE Alchemst. This movie is supposed to take place between episodes 20 and 21 in another country of Creta which would be to the west of Amestris of the Brotherhood series, where Ed gains newfound inspiration of returning Alphonse's original body back, in theory the storyline works but the inconsistancy of the movie's setting may annoy die hard fans, personally I can care less because the timeline DOES have space where the movie CAN actually occur so it does not bother me. The animation in this movie is distinctly different then the Brotherhood series, and I cannot believe the negative feedback it recieved. The animation is done beautifully in my opinion, filled with a bright variety of colors, well-incorporated moments of CGI and fight sequences that made FMA wonderous to watch. This style of animation is very reminicent of Hayao Miyazaki's films in the late 80's and 90's. The english dubbing was very well done, as expected from FUNimation productions, with all of the english voice actors reprising their roles including the flamboyant Vic Mignogna (voice of Ed) which is always a joy to hear. I am not going to spoil the plot for the movie, if you wanna find out about it buy this movie or read about it online, but in my opinion this movie was a great time.
The Extras, are pretty standard from FUNimation, a couple of trailers from up and coming anime series, a couple of web promos and trailers of the movie itself. However, they have included a nice 30 min (give or take) making of Sacred Star of Milos featurette with the Directors and producers as well as the original voice actors of the movie. It was a nice feature adding a nice in depth look towards the hard work behind the movie including the difficulties of intergrating a movie that would fit in the series canon as well as keeping true to the FMA world that Hiromu Arakawa created. It was a nice touch when compared to the awful special features that FUNimation is infamous for. Also included on the first disc is a humorous commentary track from the U.S. cast voicing out their feelings about the dubbing process and overall love for the FMA franchise. If you love FMA then buy this movie, there is no reason why an FMA fan would not like this movie.
on May 2, 2012
I consider both Fullmetal Alchemist series to be the greatest anime of all time, so obviously I was very excited to hear of this movie. If you have seen any of the side story Bleach, Naruto, or even Pokemon movies, you should know what to expect. Your standard main characters go to a new town, meet some new characters and beat the bad guy story.
The story was very solid, although the first half was a little boring but it really picked up with twists and lots of action in the second half.What disappointed me was that this movie was missing the humor that Fullmetal Alchemist was known for. Yes we have seen the short jokes and cat-filled Alphonses before, but I would have enjoyed it for nostalgia and fan-services sake. It just felt like it really didnt focus enough on Ed and Al, which annoys me with these side story movies, because lets face it, thats why we are watching. I know they have two entire series and a movie dedicated to the brothers, but still I didnt watch it for the new throwaway characters. Overall though, very good.
The new art style is a mixed bag for me. They were clearly going for a mix of the series with a Ghibli-esque, very rounded, look. I enjoyed this for the most part. It was something new and different and looks awesome on blu-ray. It was still a shock to the system at some times, and background characters often looked horrible.
The animation itself was awesome. The music was pretty good too.
The dvd was 2 discs and the bluray 1 disc. The extras include u.s. cast commentary, and some funny history lessons from Roy Mustang, which unfortunately Funimation didnt decide to dub.
Overall good, but not the epic FMA I had hoped for.
on May 26, 2015
For the price and overall quality of the movie it was worth getting but the main story and overall plot isn't really past what you'll see with the series itself,at most a longer mini-story plot attached to the FMA:Brotherhood series. The animation and voice cast are the same from the series which is appreciated and the soundtrack fits nicely throughout the movie scenes but again there's really no feeling of any real drama then what you get from the series. The movie is still worth getting especially if you already have the entire set of the FMA:Brotherhood series as it's a nice addition to add to that collection. So for fans of the series looking to see a little bit more of the FMA universe this is worth checking into just keep expectations about any real original story plot away from your mind with this movie.
on May 5, 2013
The animation was choppy and did not fit with the original series, Brotherhood or any of the other movie's I've seen. There were plenty of plot holes, and things left unexplained. The story had twists which was nice, but they were for the most part predictable and somewhat cliche. Overall, I did not find this to be a quality film. We got the most entertainment out of making fun of the movie.
on September 17, 2013
I thought this was some thing extra to either the original or Brotherhood, but after watching it, my husband and I think it must have been highly praised fan fiction? I don't know, but the graphics are odd and it involves a completely different form of alchemy to create a philosophers stone. The characters eyes look very weird. It was worth watching to have a little extra of the world of Ed and Al though =)
on October 2, 2013
Personally, I found this movie to be unsatisfying. It's confusing, very violent, and full of moments that come off as very cheesy at best. I wish I could rate this higher, but it falls way too short of the rest of the series.